For Melanie Scrofano’s Wynonna Earp, the great granddaughter of legendary hero Wyatt Earp, demon hunting isn’t a job — it’s a birthright. When Wynonna returns to her hometown of Purgatory, she discovers that it’s being plagued by demons and otherworldly forces. Worse, they’re all tied to her famous ancestor’s legacy through what is known as The Earp Curse.
Now, it’s up to Wynonna to embrace her family heritage in order to save her hometown. With the help of with her sister Waverly (who was supposed to be the one to receive the curse), the infamous Doc Holliday (yes — that Doc Holliday) and the enigmatic Agent Dolls, she sets out to accomplish one thing: send these suckers back to hell.
During a visit to the Syfy series’ Calgary set, CBR spoke with Scrofano about landing her dream role in bringing creator Beau Smith’s comic book hero to life. She also opens up about how she’s become a “bit too comfortable” with wielding Peacemaker, Wyatt Earps’ demon-slaying gun, and why the obvious sexual attraction between Wynonna and Doc Holliday is “sort of gross.”
CBR News: How did you become involved in “Wynonna Earp?” What in the concept and character did you connect with?
Melanie Scrofano: I read it and was like, “I’m not going to get this, because I want it so bad.” So, I was like, “Cool, I’m going to have fun.” I was blonde, because I was blonde for “Damien” and a movie called “Birdland.” I thought, “Oh, the only thing I have going for me is I’m blonde, and so is the comic-book character.” I had a push-up bra on, so I’m like, “Sold. Done.”
I just remember reading it and going, “If I was a young teenager, I would want to be her. I would watch her and try to emulate her.” I wouldn’t become an alcoholic, but, just in the sense that she’s so brave. She’s scared, but she does this anyway. That’s something I always wished I could do and a lot of people struggle with. We avoid things that we’re scared of. We don’t rush towards it with guns blazing. She’s afraid to do that, but she does it anyway. And, she uses humor as a defense and so do I. I’m never funnier than when I’m heartbroken or terrified. I’m hilarious. There were so many things I could relate to — which is why I thought I wouldn’t get it.
Is Wynonna Earp the kind of character you wish had been around when you were growing up?
I told [Executive Producer] Emily Andras this when she screen tested me. I remember being in high school, and this guy saying to me, “You’d actually be good-looking if you didn’t joke around so much.” That affected me, and so I stopped joking around, and I stopped being a goof because I thought people would like me better. Then this came along, and it was like the chance to show you can be a goof or a bit of a screw up, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t strong. It does not mean you aren’t beautiful. It does not mean you aren’t smart. You can be both sides of the coin. I think that’s a really good role model. She does some stuff I’d never want to see my little sister take after, but that’s part of her journey. It wouldn’t be true to life if she was this plastic, perfect character.
For viewers unfamiliar with the comic, who is Wynonna and what sends her on this supernatural hunting bender?
Wynonna is Wyatt Earp’s great granddaughter. She’s had a rough go. She had a really good life until some horrible tragedy happened, and then she just went on a bad path. She started making really bad choices. People started treating her horribly. Nobody believed her. She was institutionalized. She was neglected. This kid in a small town, you can imagine, it’s like being in a high school where everybody is talking about you and judging you. That’s how she went through her childhood, so she escaped as soon as she could and never turned back until her uncle died mysteriously. She sort of felt called to go back and check that out, because something felt wrong. She gets back and finds out she’s the next heir to the Earp Curse.
Can you elaborate on the curse and how it envelops Wynonna?
The curse is, all the people Wyatt killed, return. Each generation there’s a chosen person, and they are the only person who can put the demons down. For the rest of time, in theory, we’re doomed to be haunted by these demons called Revenants.
How aware is Wynonna of this curse? Is she only learning about it as time goes on?
Wynonna believes she knows there is a curse when she’s 10. In Wynonna’s childhood, her father’s training her sister Willa to be the next heir, because that’s who it should be. She’s the eldest. Wynonna witnesses that, but doesn’t think too much of it, doesn’t get too involved in it because “It’s not my thing. Go do your stuff and I’ll be right here.” When he dies, he’s no longer the heir. I assume it passes over me. I’m also told I’m crazy for believing all this stuff. To an extent, I question my own sanity.
When I come back to Purgatory, I think I do it with a sense that something is wrong. There’s the sense this is all real, but there’s a denial about it because I’ve been institutionalized over this. I’ve been told that I’m crazy and that I imagined everything. Maybe as a protective measure, I assume they are all right, as you do as a child when everyone tells you that you’re fat or ugly or crazy. You are going to believe them. To answer your question, she does know, but there is an element of pushing it under the rug.
It’s presented like the family business.
Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it — but nobody wants to be in it.
Doc Holliday has history with the Earps. What is his dynamic with Wynonna, and how does it evolve over the season?
Doc was Wyatt’s best friend. Wynonna is a bit of a gentleman’s lady, if you will. Immediately, off the bat, he’s just a hot guy in a bar, who’s a bit odd-looking because he’s out of place. She comes to realize who he is, and all the attractions there become exponentially more complicated, because that’s my great granddaddy’s best friend. It’s sort of gross if we consummate. Wynonna believes he has a sort of loyalty to the family and in wanting to help us. He might know something to why we are all cursed, and how we can maybe get out of it, but he has his own demons he has to fight.
Wynonna comes off as quite the gunslinger. What makes her revolver so special?
It’s called Peacemaker — it has a name. It was Wyatt’s gun. It’s the only thing that can kill Revenants, if it’s in the hands of the heir. Nobody can just pick it up and shoot a Revenant. Only Wynonna can use it. It’s the only gun that can kill them. You can take the biggest gun in the world and it will have no effect. No, it will have an effect, but they will just come back.
Did you have to do any special weapon training?
Training was fun. Well, we did martial arts training. We came for weapons training and I used a Glock. I used a revolver. I used a huge shotgun, which threw me across the room. I used a variety just to be comfortable. Really, the only one I use is Peacemaker because why would I use anything else?
How comfortable did you get with it?
I played with that thing like it’s candy. I started twirling it. You’re standing around between takes, so you just start playing with it. That’s probably what Wynonna does while waiting for a Revenant. You just twirl it. It’s really long, so it doesn’t move like other guns. I’m comfortable with it. I’m a bit too comfortable with it, sometimes. I forget that it’s a real gun and probably shouldn’t point it at people.
Wynonna kicks butt, gets thrown around and dragged across the ground. Were you involved in the stunts and fight sequences as well?
I have this amazing stung double named Holly, who is a wonder woman. She’s just amazing. We had a huge fight scene recently. She did the whole thing — I can’t do a flip with no arms. Unless I’m in a harness, I can’t do that. She did the whole thing, and then I went in and filled in a lot of it. I did a lot of it. I was injured as well. Anything where I might re-injure my shoulder, she would do. I don’t think they crashed me around a tree. That was her. She’s like a superhero.
I love doing stuff in a harness. It’s surprising what you can actually do. I’m reasonably coordinated, so I can do flips and the flipping kicks. A lot of the stuff in the pilot was me unless they switched me out and didn’t tell me.
“Wynonna Earp” debuts April 1 on Syfy.